This week I'd like to share with you a humble pie. I love pie, my husband loves pie. Don't most people? I thought that when we gave up meat and dairy savoury pies would not figure much in our future and it made me sad.
How wrong was I! This week has seen our first plant only pie hit the decks and it was delicious. Scrumptious. A no-one say anything until it's eaten type of pie. I may even have scoffed it, the baby certainly did. So for your own delectation, here it is.
Mushroom and Root Vegetable Pie Heaven
One pie serves 4 hungry adults, 3 starving adults, 5 polite adults with extra veg, 3 adults who need to share it with kids....you get my drift. Twice! Yes, there's enough love here for two 9" pie tins.
40 g dried porcini mushroom
Oil (I use rapeseed)
2 medium onions, small dice (but not too small)
3 sticks celery, small dice
3 medium carrots, small dice
200g swede, small dice
400g fresh mushrooms (whatever type you prefer, brown are nice), sliced
1 aubergine, 1 cm cube
4 garlic cloves, crushed
500ml veg stock (thereabouts)
2 tblsp tomato puree
salt & pepper
fresh thyme, a few sprigs, leaves stripped off stalks
thickening, if needed
shortcrust pastry (2/3 - 3/4 of a 500g block will do one 9" pie, double if you cook both straight away)
Soak the porcini mushrooms in enough water to generously cover them for at least 10 mins. Get the pastry out of the fridge to get to room temperature. Heat oven to 180C (fan).
Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the onions and let them gently cook until turning translucent, about 10 mins. Add the carrot, celery and swede and gently fry until all veg are starting to soften and take on some colour. Maybe 10-15 mins. When done transfer to a large saucepan and set aside.
Remove porcini mushrooms from their water and chop (you can leave them whole if you prefer). Keep the liquid. Put a little more oil in the frying pan and heat. Add the fresh mushrooms and aubergine and gently fry until the mushroom juices run and both veg take on a little colour. Add the porcini mushrooms and garlic. Fry, stirring for a couple of mins. Add a few splashes of veg stock to the pan to loosen any stuck on bits and transfer all to the saucepan of veg.
Put the saucepan back on the heat (slightly higher now) and add the porcini mushroom water and the rest of the stock. Add salt and pepper (not salt if cooking for an under-one year old) and the tomato puree and simmer until the root veg is cooked through but not mushy. Add more stock if it's needed.
You want lots of sauce, but thick and unctuous. When the veg is just about cooked, thicken the sauce as needed. If you want lots, add more stock and then thicken. I used cornflour, adding it gradually until it was the right thickness. Cook for a couple more minutes, add the fresh thyme and adjust seasoning if needed, then transfer the mixture to a cold dish and let it cool.
While the mixture is cooking, sort out the pastry. I used a 9" round metal loose based dish (metal is best for cooking pastry evenly) but use whatever you have to hand. Divide the pastry into a larger and smaller half and roll out the larger half to fit the base and sides with a bit more to hang over the edge (the pastry will shrink during cooking). Let it relax for a few mins, then line the pie dish, prick the base with a fork and cook for about 15 mins until the pastry is nearly but not quite cooked.
While its cooking roll out the smaller half of pastry to fit as a pie lid. When the mixture is cooled (doesn't have to be cold but you don't want it making the pastry soggy by being steamingly hot) load up the pie dish, and put on the pastry lid. Pierce a couple of vent holes in the top, decorate with pastry trimmings and glaze as you like. If you eat eggs, that gives a lovely glaze, but this time I just used a bit of water.
Cook the pie for around 25-30 mins as required for the pastry to be cooked through and the filling hot hot hot! Great with mash and green veg.